Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Improve the Value of My Home

What Should I do to Improve the Value of My Home and Not Spend a Fortune?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions.

When I list a home, I do a walk through of the entire home and we discuss the things that have been done that have an effect on value.

Here are some things that you can do around your home prior to listing that can add value to your home and not break the bank:

- Check exterior paint and touch up where needed
- Check all of the caulking on the exterior of your home
- Check the weather stripping on all doors and windows
- Make sure that the flowerbeds are in a neat, tidy, and well-kept
- Clean all of your windows and doors - this is very easy, cheap and will make a big difference, especially with first impressions
- Make sure that there is no clutter outside - put things away inside the shed or garage
- Make sure that there is nothing growing in your eavestrough
- Make sure that all light bulbs are working - replace any that have blown
- Make sure that your entrance is clear on the inside and well-lit so folks feel at ease when they walk in the front door
- Make sure that all of your counters, taps and sinks are clean and clear - remove the lime and calcium buildup, as well
- Make sure that the caulking on all countertops is in good condition
- Make sure that all doors and drawers operate properly
- If you have the money, replace any old out-of-date light fixtures - this can change the look of a room dramatically
- Make sure that hand railings are secure and safe to use
- Touch up all paint blemishes on walls and trim - do not repaint the entire home unless it is really necessary
- Make sure that all flooring is clean and stain free, especially carpets
- Make sure that all draperies are clean and in good condition, and always leave them open for all showings to allow natural light into your home
- Make sure your home is free of all clutter, and put personal items into storage if you have to - it is not neccessary to stage your home, unless you have the money and patience to live that way

This is just a very partial list of minor cost effective improvements.
When we walk through your home together, we will go over a check list of items to improve the value and in return your home will sell faster and for more money!

Something to remember: Presentation is everything - alot of folks make their decision as soon as they drive in the laneway.

Thank you for reading this blog, I look forward to serving you in the future.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

MPAC and My Home


This was a question that was asked of me just recently. Well, some of this may always remain a mystery. One may never know fully how these entities really operate. But this is my understanding and professional knowledge of this question. 

I can tell you the way that professional real estate agents evaluate a home or property. But first, in all my experiences, MPAC seems to be mysterious in some evaluations. I have seen some of their assessments right on, what the market would allow. Other times, they have been way lower and yet other assessments are so high, it makes for a good laugh. Then we have to figure out why they are so high. 

MPAC may or may not actually come to your home to see the property. Some MPAC evaluators may knock on your door and ask you a few questions just after you purchase a home.  They use their own system to determine a value to base your property taxes on. They may tend to base their assessment on factors such as:

  • location;
  • lot dimensions;
  • living area;
  • age of the property, adjusted for any major renovations or additions; and
  • quality of construction. 

  • Just know that when you get your assessment, it may not be an accurate assessment of the true value of what your home would be worth in today's real estate market.
    It is typical, that we all want our MPAC assessment to be lower than what it would really sell for in today's market. That way we pay less taxes, and no one I know wants to pay more taxes! However the assessment turns out, don't panic. Did you know, you CAN contest the assessment if you feel it is unfair?

    As for the real estate end of your home's value, that is not a real mystery, but must be considered carefully. Some of the factors that I, as a Professional Real Estate agent, take into consideration are:

    • past sold homes that are similar in many ways 
    • current homes for sale that are similar
    • the average length of time it takes to sell a home in your neighbourhood
    • the current condition of your home
    • the amount and type of product (homes) on the market
    • the location
    • the available services and ammenities
    • the MPAC assesssment (Although it may not reflect the actual market value, this still carries some consideration.)
    • this is not a full list, just some of the things I take into consideration.  

    There are other factors as well. These would actually be specific to your home and would be determined at the time you are considering to sell. Every home is different, even if they look the same from outside. Since there are so many factors that help determine a home's true value, and these can vary in every market, you need someone to help you who knows the area and the condition of the comparable homes and all the other factors. 

    A professional REALTOR® will help you determine the best value in today's market. Our real estate markets are always changing so you need to be in touch with a knowledgeable agent. Feel free to call me, if you are interested in selling or (buying), and I would be happy to help you determine what your home is worth. I never charge any fees for a consultation prior to listing your home for sale. I enjoy helping folks plan for the future. I look forward to helping you in the near future. If you have any questions or comments, I always encourage you to send me an email or call me at 705-733-5821 or email at  or visit my website at

    Thank you very much for reading this blog and I look forward to serving you in the near future. 

    Make it a great day!

    Joseph Talbot

    Monday, January 11, 2016

    Is the winter a good time to sell or should I wait until spring?

    This is a question that I get asked all the time, especially in the winter or in the months of December and January. There are many reasons why folks sell in the winter. A lot of buyers think that if a person is selling their home in the winter, they are desperate or have to sell their home. I might ask the same question as to why the buyer is looking at this time. Are they desperate? Not likely.  There are so many reasons as to why folks are selling. For example, the seller may be moving for a new job, maybe the seller is getting married, maybe they want to be closer to family, the family has outgrown the home because baby number 7 is coming in 7 months, or perhaps the home is just too big and has too many stairs and they would like to move into town into a home with no stairs. We also see folks selling their vacation home because the kids are too busy with sports in their home town and can not make it often enough to keep the home. These reasons could go for a buyer or seller. Whatever the reason is, it will not have much bearing on what the home is really worth. Every seller has a number in mind and whatever the reason is for selling they can not or will not go below that. It is my job as your Realtor to help you determine what a property is worth to you, not to someone else. Value is perceived by the people involved. If the value is not there for those involved, then they move on from that home, regardless of why the folks are selling. It is my job as a Realtor to help determine the value of a home. I would never push a buyer into making a purchase they are not comfortable with, nor would I recommend a client sell their home if it were not a good decision for them. I give you all the facts that I am aware of and my expert opinion, then you make your decision. So, there are many reasons why people are selling at this time of the year. There are definitely good reasons to sell or buy in the winter. Such as a lot less competition for both the buyer and seller. If you are interested in selling or buying this winter we would be very happy to come and have a consultation with you, with no obligations. Winter can be a great time to sell or buy. Want to find out why, check out more of our blogs and website or call/text or email us today. We would be very happy to help you make an informed decision.

    Be sure to also check out more of our video blogs, more coming every week!!

    Thank you for reading this blog and I look forward to serving you this year!!!

    Joseph Talbot, ABR®, ASA, SRES®, AGA, SRS®
    Peak Lifestyle Realty Ltd., Brokerage

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

    Keeping the Cold Out and Keeping Your Home Warm!

    There are many ways to improve your home's warmth and help keep your house healthy. When your home is breathing in cold air it runs the risk of meeting the warm air and producing condensation, which then can become mold. You definitely want to avoid that, so let take a walk around your home and check for potential cold spots. 

    At the Front Door
    When you first enter your home, look for damaged weather seals around the door and cracks in the caulking where the exterior finish meets the door frame. You may also want to check to make sure the seal in the glass is ok. If it is broken, there will be a hazy look and/or moisture in between the glass panes.

    Other Windows and Doors
    As you proceed through your home, look at all your windows and doors. One way to detect a leak is to hold a candle to the window or door. If the flame dances, chances are that air is coming in. Keeping your curtains closed at night we help keep the cold out too. Doing so traps the cold air in between the window and the curtain, not letting it cool off the rest of the room. However it is monumental that you open them up during the day and let the air flow in. This will help dry out any condensation that accumulated through the night. If you don't give the moisture a chance to dry, you risk developing mold on the windows and that is not what you want. 

    Bathrooms and Laundry Room
    If possible, check the vent fan and dryer vent to make sure they are insulated. They are taking warm air out of your home. At some point, the warm air will meet colder air. The farther out the better. Ensure that you have a good seal around the vent when it goes out of the wall. If you don't, cold air can enter around it.  

    Basement and/or Crawlspace
    In the lower areas of your home, check all the headers. This is where the floor joists and wall meet. If insulated, there should be at least R22 and a vapour barrier around the insulation. Do the walls have insulation? If you only see bare block or concrete, the cold is definitely coming in. You'll be able to feel it if you put your hand on the block. There are a number of ways to insulate a basement wall, but that is another topic. One more thing to check for is water lines. They bring in cold water. Pipe wrap will help you warm the pipe as quickly as you can.

    First, look for lots of insulation around and on top of the access hatch. It should have the same amount of insulation as the rest of the attic. In the attic itself, check to see how much you have. If there is only one baton of R12, it would be a very good idea to top it up or you are losing a lot of heat there. Also, check any pipes or vents or anything that comes up through the ceiling to make sure they are well sealed. It is amazing how small a hole will allow a large amount of cold air in.
    Also, have a look at the interior outlets and light fixtures, basically anything on an outside wall.  Feel around to see if there is cold air coming in. Put your hand up against the outlet and on the wall around it. If you feel a difference in temperature, there is cold air coming in. It might not be practical to rip off the drywall and re-insulate but you could buy an insulating pad to go behind the outlet cover. 

    House Exterior
    Outside, you'll want to ensure the caulking around each door and window is in good shape and free from gaps or cracks. This will keep the water and cold air out. Also make sure anything that sticks out of the wall or roof is well sealed. Ensure that your exterior finishes, such as siding or brick, have no cracks or gaps. 

    These are just a few things to keep in mind when keeping out the cold. There are many other things that your can do to increase your home's effectiveness. For more information about preparing your home for winter, feel free to call me or email me. Always glad to help when I can. 
    Have a great day!

    Thursday, June 25, 2015

    The Town of Blue Mountains

    The Town of Blue Mountains was formed on January 1, 2001, and includes Lora Bay, Thornbury, Clarksburg, Slabtown, Camperdown, Loree, Victoria Corners, Heathcote, Craigleith, Swiss Meadows, Banks, Ravenna, Redwing, Castle Glen, Gibraltor, Kolapore, Duncan, Little Germany, Osler, and Pretty River Valley. The town’s economy is centered on tourism, a large part of which comes from Blue Mountain Resort, Craigleith Ski Club, and Alpine Ski Club. The Town of Blue Mountains also sees a lot of Summer time traffic. The Bruce Trail runs through portions of the town for hikers and there are great mountain biking and rock climbing opportunities, too.

    Beaver Valley Community School is the closest elementary school in Thornton, but there are other elementary school choices nearby in Collingwood and Meaford. High school choices for students in The Town of Blue Mountains are also in Collingwood and Meaford. There is a medical center in Thornbury, as well as nearby in Collingwood and Owen Sound, which are also where the closest hospitals are located. There are several churches in Thornbury, such as Grace United Church, St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, and more. Not far from Thornby there are also many choices in Collingwood, Meaford, and Owen Sound.

    Blue Mountain Resort is one of the largest resorts in Ontario and has seen a lot of growth and development over recent years. Jozo Weider and his family began development of Blue Mountain Resort in 1941. The resort began with one small chalet, a lift that ran on the ground powered by a truck engine, and 3 runs. Blue Mountain Resort has grown exponentially and now includes many more ski runs, lifts, and chalets, night skiing, several Summer time recreation opportunities such as mountain biking, zip lining, and a private beach on Georgian Bay, accommodations and spa, a village full of restaurants, cafes, and retail, an exciting night life, conferences, weddings, concerts, festivals, and the list goes on!

    Beyond the resorts, there are lots of outdoor recreational opportunities at the provincial parks, recreation centers, beaches for swimming and wind surfing, biking trails, hiking trails, camping, parks, and more! There are many fantastic restaurant choices in the many smaller communities that make up The Town of Blue Mountains, including those that have dishes or entire menus focusing on local ingredients. There are also apple orchards throughout The Town of Blue Mountains that, along with other local businesses, are a part of the Blue Mountains Apple Pie Trail.

    The Blue Mountains Apple Pie Trail offers tours and adventures for everyone, from outdoor activities to cooking classes, everything in between, and combinations of both! There is a lot to see, do, and taste all year round in The Town of Blue Mountains, for both visitors and local residents. It’s The Town of Blue Mountains lifestyle!!

    Click here for more information about the Town of Blue Mountains.

    Click here for more information about Blue Mountain Resort and the activities they offer.

    Click here for more information about The Blue Mountains Apple Pie Trail and their adventures and tours.